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Learning in Yosemite

The fall season marks the beginning of our students’ year-long exploration of the great outdoors. The month of October features our annual eighth-grade science trip to Yosemite National Park. In March, our sixth graders will enjoy a two-day overnight trip to Anza-Borrego Desert and the Salton Sea for their study of earth science, and our seventh graders will spend two nights and three days compiling nature journals for their study of life science at Mount Laguna State Park in May.

Yosemite has become the marquee outdoor experience for our young middle school scientists. For the past two years, our eighth-grade students have spent four days and three nights in the Eastern Sierras in Northern California. (Our eighth graders used to travel to Mount Palomar Observatory for their annual trip.) Throughout the four-day excursion to Yosemite, students are focused on demonstrating and further developing greater respect for and practical knowledge of the natural environment: they study the varied Yosemite terrain through a basic course in orienteering; they learn the basics of first aid and emergency-response protocols; safety protocols for the use of fire; the social etiquette of sharing space with others; and the details of budgeting and planning for four days of meals.

alumni from the class of 2012 pose for a group picture in yosemite national park in the fall of 2011

Our annual multiple-day camping trips in science for all three grades complement our lab-based classroom learning throughout the year. The science-camping curriculum was designed by our science faculty and has become a unique feature of our efforts to introduce a variety of out-of-school experiences for our students. Mr. Elijah Bonde, who is director of the science programs at Nativity, recently submitted a proposal to present our camping curriculum at the National Conference on Science Education. His proposal was accepted, and this coming April he will journey to San Antonio, Texas, for the annual conference to present the unique components of this special curriculum.

If you would like to learn more about our science curriculum and programs, please click here.

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